For Hassan Mahasin, it was like déjà vu.
Serra’s senior multiback extraordinaire has gone up against Half Moon Bay twice in his varsity career. The first time came in the 2019 Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs, when the Padres overcame an early deficit with two touchdowns from Mahasin to advance with a 42-14 victory.
Saturday’s 49-7 nonleague victory over HMB at Freitas Field followed the same script. The Cougars took an early 7-0 lead with a prolonged drive — just like in 2019 — with the Padres and Mahasin answering in kind.
“I remember my sophomore year, they had the ball for like a whole quarter and a half,” Mahasin said. “I remember I was just cold on the sideline, waiting for my opportunity. Once I got my opportunity, I scored two touchdowns in that game. So, it was good, but it felt like it was repeating itself again.”
“The Missil3,” a nickname Mahasin has flown proudly on the official Serra roster since his sophomore year, did not disappoint. The senior earns Daily Journal Athlete of the Week honors for his effort, gaining 158 total yards — two carries for 11, and eight catches for 147 yards — and, just like in 2019, two touchdowns.
“We started off the game defensively slow,” Mahasin said. “The offense, we had to pick it up, we had to play fast. And in order to win this game, we were going to have to play a very efficient style of offense. We came through and put point on the board and then our defense came through after that, they made adjustments, and we ended up blowing them out after.”
Mahasin was riding high after a fun, and historic, night of high school football Friday night. The night before Serra’s Saturday matchup with HMB, Mahasin was in Mountain View attending the stunner at St. Francis, with the Lancers upsetting mighty De La Salle with a 31-28 victory.
“That game was crazy,” said Mahasin, who was all smiles, and slightly in awe, when talking about Serra’s West Catholic Athletic League archrival St. Francis. “I honestly thought De La Salle was going to come back and win. But St. Francis held their composure, they played their ball, they ran their [isolation] every play and it worked. They just did their thing, and they won the game. So, that was surprising to see.”
Serra may be fated for a momentous matchup of its own with St. Francis. The Padres and the Lancers are slated to close out the regular season with a Nov. 6 matchup.
But the Padres already have a sense of having to make up for lost time. Serra’s Week 1 game against Pittsburg was canceled due to poor air quality. The Padres now have just nine games on their 2021 schedule.
“Honestly, me personally, not playing that Pitt game doesn’t feel right because that was a big game,” Mahasin said. “They were like top in Northern California, that was going to be one of our toughest teams we played all season. So, it feels kind of devastating we didn’t get to play against them. But as a team, we bounced back from that. We ended up blowing two teams out. So, we’ve responded good. But I wish we would have had that game.”
Having totaled 88 points through their first two games, the Padres seem to making up that lost time. And Mahasin is leading the way.
Two years ago, when he scored twice in the postseason opener against HMB, the then-sophomore was just getting started with a promising varsity career as a running back. Previous to that breakout performance, he scored just three TDs during the 2019 regular season.
Now as a senior, splitting time between the backfield and slot receiver, Hassan already has five TDs on the year, including two Sept. 3 in a 41-14 win at Palo Alto.
“That’s just Hassan being Hassan,” Serra head coach Patrick Walsh said following the win over Palo Alto. “His football IQ is through the roof but obviously his talent and his love for his teammates always shines through when he’s playing football. So, he’s worked really, really hard … and it’s just a beautiful thing to see an individual within a team setting really shine. So, Hassan is one of the great ones that Serra has seen. So, hopefully we can continue to get him the ball, block for him, and he can be himself this whole year.”